{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

ISSUE 4

YOUR 12-MONTH STRATEGY PLAN A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO

MY FIRST YEAR IN BUSINESS

honing your passion on a Shoestring Budget

against the odds!

Opportunities. Challenges. Success. with

Miriam Baker


CONTACT US DREAMER 2 C REATO R B USINESS MAGAZ I N E

P:

20 MIRIAM BAKER: AGAINST THE ODDS! OPPORTUNITIES. CHALLENGES. SUCCESS.

(647) 955 3567

E: articles@dreamer2creatormag.ca W:

www.dreamer2creatormag.ca

—

EDITORIAL K A R E N M. LOWE Executive Editor F R A N C IN E GREY Creative Editor K I M BLEY LOWE-B EN N ETT Editor N I C O LE LOWE Editor

30 F RO M D REA M I N G TO B RA INSTO R M I N G TO C REATING by Chr is ta B ur ke

38 C U STO M ER SERV IC E & L OYA LTY RETENTIO N by Swe k i C he n


44

TABLE OF CONTENTS

RESO URC ES

Page 6 YOUR 12-MONTH STRATEGY PLAN By Karen M. Lowe

Page 8

A Step by Step Guide to Honing

18

YO U R PA SSIO N O N A S H O E ST R I N G B U D G ET By Sabrina Domize

W H AT IS BUS IN ESS I NSU RANC E & WH Y DO I NE ED IT

Page 14

by Sean Clouden

H OW I P I VOTED TO BU I L D A SUC C ESSF U L B U SI N E S S By Kelly Goebel

Page 32

36

M Y F I RST YEAR IN BU S I N E S S By Erica Tjeerdsma

ST E PS IN DESIGN IN G YO UR PRO DUC T By Christy Warkentin

40 GETTING NOTICED O N SO C I AL M ED I A by Jessica Dervisevic


W

editor’s note

hen I started this magazine, the problem to be solved was educating entrepreneurs from an experiential perspective. Educating entrepreneurs who want to learn the practical ups and downs of running a business and how to overcome them, educating entrepreneurs who wish to learn more but are not very good at research was the aim. The articles written in previous issues have a general theme of on the job training - articles from entrepreneurs who were brave enough to jump in and write. Entrepreneurs do not struggle with their craft as much as they struggle with “how to operate a successful business.” Unfortunately, many consultants who they turn to have not experienced the actual running of a business, so their advice is more motivational rather than practical step-by-step guides on how to start a marketing campaign or how to prepare a 3-year financial statement. A new problem I have encountered is entrepreneurs who believe they do not have enough information on entrepreneurship to share with others. That is a contradiction. Entrepreneurs must believe in themselves to be able to survive the lows of entrepreneurship, so why not recognize you have what it takes and therefore have information to share? If you have been running a business for the last six months, there are required tasks, and you must have completed some of those tasks to be still operating a business. Even if you believe you have not been successful at it, the information is there. Put a spin on it. Call it “Things I should have done but never did.” Many entrepreneurs are struggling with the same issues you struggle with, and they will feel encouraged knowing they are not Photo Credit: JANELLE CHIOMA alone. You can also be supported by other entrepreneurs’ writing about their struggles in the back end of the business and how they overcame or is yet to master it. How they struggled with manufacturing and resolved that struggle, how they struggled with distribution, and how they overcame or how they struggled with finding the right customers, and how they overcame. Are you yet to overcome? Do a two-part article. Part 1- This is my struggle and Part 2- How I am getting around it. In two to six months, give another version of the same issue in our magazine. Mark Twain says “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.” So use this opportunity to step out and do something. Make a promise to yourself, whatever you are afraid of doing, whatever skill you think you lack, try it anyway.

Stay Motivated!

KAREN M. LOWE Executive Editor


- ISSUE -

4 BEGINNINGS DREAMER2CREATORMAG.CA ISSUU.COM/DREAMER2CREATORMAG mail@dreamer2creatormag.ca

Copyright 2019 Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine. ISSN 2562-5330 (Print) ISSN 2562-5349 (Online) All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be copied, reprinted, displayed, edited or distributed without the written consent of Epigram Consulting Services Inc. Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine is a Canadian Magazine, published and distributed by Epigram Consulting Services, located in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.


Your 12-Month strategy Plan Many Individuals make new year resolutions and break them. Entrepreneurs need to make year-long resolutions, also known as yearly strategic planning and stick to them. Here are a few things you need to think about for 12 months, regardless if month 1 is January or August. **This list is not exhaustive. Find a list of all special days and holidays that will be important to your industry. This is important for promotional and sales purposes. For example, you will offer deals for Black Friday or Cyber Monday while showing support for Breast Cancer month and even sponsoring an event for

funky socks day if your store speciality is socks. Know the reason behind the days so you can make meaningful connections. Eg. World Downs Syndrome Day is the reason for Funky Socks day. It also looks cute on your social media page. We live in a socially conscious world so you must connect with your clients and the rest of the world. Find networking events for the next 12 months that will be good for you to grow as an entrepreneur, as well as, for your business to grow. As an entrepreneur, you need to connect with your community to grow your business. You need to educate yourself on changes in the business sector and in your specific industry, those may be different events. Attending at least one business webinar or online course is also essential. The business world is continuously changing. Many businesses fail because they did not change with the market. Remember Sears? They failed because they did not evolve into an online strategy. Instagram and Facebook, for example, are continually changing, you need to be educated in those areas. Find markets, shows and events at which you can promote your products and services. Community events are a great way to promote your product or service, depending on what it is. The old fashion word-of-mouth marketing is still as powerful as Instagram and LinkedIn, so buy a booth if you can afford it. In fact, you should budget for at least two booths per year. Cannot afford a booth? No problem. I recently sponsored an event with

DRE A M E R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 6 -

I SSUE 4


products I already had. Everyone has something to give; it does not have to be a lot. It could be your time or a giveaway of your product or service. Do a minimum of one coffee meet-up with industry experts per month. This is important as I found out recently, your goals will be limited to your knowledge. There is so much information you do not know and will not find easily online. By having these intimate one and one meetings, you will be surprised to discover something new. For example, changes may be happening in your local area that will affect your business; by buying coffee for your local chamber of commerce member, you will gain insight or catch up on something you missed in the news. You may learn something about ethically sourced yarn from someone who just returned from overseas and how you can implement it in your planning or promotion. Set practical monthly sales goals, also known as your one-year goal as well as tasks to achieve these goals. Again, start small and update as you go. Your goal setting will be aided by your coffee meetups with industry experts and networking events. How many products or services do you want to sell in month one? What will you need to

do to achieve this? Who do you need to connect with to get this done? I told someone I wanted to sell 500 magazines, limiting myself to online sales. Speaking with Magazines Canada (industry experts), a month later, I realized I could do so much more because they have relationships with over 150 magazine stands. My goals have changed, so I now have to re-adjust resources to achieve the new goals. **By the way, you are an industry expert in something so have coffee meetings with others to share as well. Do a budget to see what you will need for each month. Your budget is not set in stone, it gives you an idea as to what you need to prepare for. Some things to consider: n n Are you doing pop-up shops? n n How many and what is the cost of each? n n The cost for the booth, accessories and promotions. n n Shipping costs, supplies per month, etc. If you know you need to budget $500 per month, you will be able to set sales goals to surpass your budget. Use these basic tips to determine the big picture of what you need to achieve. Look at them two to three months before to execute the plan effectively, by being mentally aware of what is on the horizon. Happy Building! Karen M. Lowe is the Founder and a Business Consultant at Epigram Consulting Services. klowe@epigramconsulting.com

DRE A M E R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 7 -

I SSUE 4


A Step by Step Guide to Honing

Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

your passion on a shoestring budget

I

n today’s society, one income is often not enough to meet all our needs. Many people are being pushed to find a different source of income, and many like myself are tired of doing the mundane job just to get by. I have always dreamed of financial freedom and living a life doing what I love, but the road to get there does not always seem tangible. Well, I am happy to say that I did precisely that. I found something I loved doing and made a career out of it that gave me an annual income of 70K. It took hard work and focus, but it was worth it. For those of you looking to achieve similar results, here is a step by step guide on how you can generate a sustainable business doing what you love. Before we get started, you are probably wondering what the nature of my business is. My passion is photography. I love taking pictures! It was never something I thought I was good enough to do professionally or something I had formal training in. But when I sat back and thought of all the things I loved doing taking pictures and exploring

my creative side topped the list. So, to start this journey, my first question for you is: What do you love doing? Starting a business will take a lot of time in the beginning. It will be like a young baby that needs a lot of attention from you to grow. If it is something you love doing, investing the energy into its success will make it a lot easier. So, take out a note pad and write down all the things that you love doing. It can be creative, like taking pictures or doing makeup. It can be shopping, cleaning, or organizing spaces. Or how about something you have always been good at like math, grammar, or excel sheets. You can take any area of strength or joy and make a business out of it. Take that list and brainstorm services people may need with items from that list. Try to make this specific. For me, I like taking pictures, so I started looking into photography. I then researched different types of photography there was to see and considered, which would most match my personality

DRE A M E R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 8 -

I SSUE 4


Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

and lifestyle. I love romance, but weddings were too much pressure, and I did not want to give up all my weekends. I also loved working with women and babies, so I ended up doing maternity and newborn photography. If you are great at organizing, there are probably business owners who need your help, moms who need structure to help with their children or the function of their home. Think about all the ways you can use that skill or passion, who it could help and the problem it could solve. The more specific you can get, the better. Google can be a useful tool in this brainstorming process. Study this area of business. This stage is crucial. You may study it and realize it is not for you. I studied wedding photography at first and quickly realized it was not for me. I then studied maternity and newborn, and it reaffirmed that this is what I wanted to do. Your research may involve finding someone doing this and offering to help them for a portion of time for free. Look up people online that are doing well at it. Really immerse yourself in this area of business. Look at what they are doing that you like, why you like it, research the income

Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

potential, operating cost, how much time is involved and is this business primarily done on evenings or weekends. Don’t be too quick to get started that you rush through this process. You may have to give up some time working for free, to get the answers and training that you need. No one likes doing this, but it can save you a lot of time and money in the future. Social media, YouTube and google can also be great tools for this. Study your craft. Even for those who are not creatives, this is crucial. This area of business development will be something you should always be doing. The stronger your skillset, the happier your clients and higher the number of your referrals. I used YouTube and online learning websites to help learn what I needed to about photography. I also used closed Facebook groups where industry professionals share ideas and help each other. This helped significantly in my development and provided a place to ask questions as I needed to. Look up every resource there is to

DRE A M E R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 9 -

I SSUE 4


moms with their wardrobe. I used a room in my home that had good exposure to light. Since I did not have a lot of props or money to invest in this area at first, I did a lot of nude shots with simple fabrics for both mom and baby. I became known for this style of photography, and something that was started because of my limitations became my strength and selling point. At the outset, my backdrops and lighting were all second hand, but each time I got a new client, I reinvested in my business. Use what you have to make it work.

Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

help you grow; study those online who are doing what you want to do and doing it well. Remember that you don’t want to reinvent the wheel...at least not at first. It is okay to use what is working and then improve on it. After researching this area, take note of what you absolutely need to get started. Using my business as an example, I knew I needed a camera, a place to take my images and props to pose my younger clientele. There are so many other things that I would have loved to have, but those were the essential items I needed. Since I was starting up with a really low budget, I went to Kijiji and found an entry-level camera for $250. I had done enough research to know that with a basic camera if I had good enough lighting, I could still get great images. I shot outside when I could and helped

Think about your presentation. Even though you may be starting on a dime, it doesn’t mean you should look that way. Today we have access to so many tools to help with marketing and branding. You will need a website, business cards and good images to ensure the face of your business looks polished and professional. There are websites like Wix and Squarespace, to name a couple that has simplified the website design process. Vistaprint is another tool that can provide business card designs and prints at a low cost. Using a smartphone with good lighting to take images or trail offers from adobe stock can help get the images you need to start. If you are not creative and think you may need more help creating a polished look, try other resources like Fiverr or search your local listing like Kijiji or Facebook market place for creatives looking for gigs. Be realistic with your pricing. Again, this is something you will need to research. Find out what the market price is for the service you are offering. With pricing, it is always about perceived value. This is why your branding is so important. Even

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 10 -

I SSUE 4


are trying to reach, the easier it is to reach them, and the less it will cost you to do so. I needed to reach out to expecting moms, so I went to mom groups, I gave out cards to every expecting mom I saw, I went to stores that specialized in maternity clothing and did pop-up events. Be where your clients are, use friends and family to get started and maximize the power of social media to bring awareness to your business. This can be an article in itself, but the most important things you need to know are: always use clean and professional images, be personable instead of ‘salesy’ and be consistent. Spend the time needed in each of these steps. I am a firm believer that you can truly accomplish anything you put your mind to. Just because you want something does not mean it is going to fall into your lap. The old saying ‘action speaks louder than words’ very much applies to business. If you really want it, follow the steps, put in the time, be consistent and persistent. You will get there!

Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

though you don’t want to start out being the most expensive, you also do not want to be the “cheap” one. To get your foot in the market, I recommend that you offer your services close to where you want to be, then offer introductory pricing, which will provide a percentage off. That way, you will create the opportunity to develop and strengthen your business before offering full pricing without devaluing your services in the meantime. Get the word out about you. You need to market, market, market! When marketing, ask yourself these questions: Who are your ideal clients? Where are they located, what do they read, where do they go, and what are their interests? The more clarity you have about who you

“AFTER RESEARCHING THIS AREA, TAKE NOTE OF WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO GET STARTED... There are so many other things that I would have loved to have, but those were the essential items I needed.”

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

Sabrina Domize Photography Consultant

- 11 -

I SSUE 4


EVERY TIME YOU STATE WHAT YOU WANT OR BELIEVE, YOU’RE THE FIRST TO HEAR IT. IT’S A MESSAGE TO BOTH YOU AND OTHERS ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK IS POSSIBLE. DON’T PUT A CEILING ON YOURSELF.

Oprah Winfrey, Talk show host and producer


HOW I PIVOTED TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

W

hen I first started, I intended to create a successful, handmade by me, Etsy Shop. You know the ones that make 1000’s of sales and can support a living wage? Where I ended up, was with a full-scale lifestyle website on Shopify, and a dedicated following of some of the brands I never thought I would be able to compete with.

and pivoted my strategy to keep moving forward to create the successful business I had planned in the first place. At the onset of my Etsy shop, sales were slow, but that was to be expected. They were regular enough, but I could not figure out how to drive traffic and convert sales to where I wanted them to be. I figured I would go out to some local markets and see if I could gain any insight from real people (rather than sending out surveys to nonexistent clients). I had done my research on paper, and now it was time to modify my methods. The idea was to spread the news we existed, let people see our products in person and hopefully convert that to Etsy traffic.

Photo Credit: OLIVIA VAN DYKE

I started at a small market by my house where it was cheap to acquire a table. I thought my products were so different and the aesthetic so trendy, I would make a killing. Well, it was not long before I realized that was NOT the case... Maybe my target market was not who I initially thought it would be? In time, I learned it was the same target market I had been planning for. (Regardless of how much preliminary research I did before launching) I did not have enough information yet, to fully understand their patterns and behaviours. Initially, I thought Etsy would be a snap; our products are high quality and very different, aesthetically, than what was already out there. In my eyes, we had a novel idea and no competition. Over the following months, I learned otherwise

When I saw the people who made purchases from me at markets, they were different than the usual craft market crowd. I learned they usually ended up there by accident, or just happened to be in

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 14 -

I SSUE 4


the area, and they definitely did not buy products like mine on Etsy. “Etsy is for handmade” I was told by one consumer. Even though our products are handmade, our effort to not have them look “handmade” was not having the desired effect and was instead, throwing people off. I kept hearing over and over, ‘Do you have a website?’ Etsy was not a sufficient answer for their demands. I learned that my clients preferred Instagram over Pinterest, Shopify over Etsy, and “buy local” events over craft markets.

Photo Credit: OLIVIA VAN DYKE

As I was barely covering my costs at craft markets, I was scared to invest more in these “buy local” events and end up deeper in a financial hole. Nevertheless, I decided to test out one “buy local” event, and see whether that would make any difference for my business. I took what money I had set aside for Etsy advertising, and changed it to marketing dollars to attend the event.

through my social media experimentations, I made connections with some other cool handmade designers who I approached for collaboration.

That was when everything started changing. The more events I attended, people already recognized my products; following and engaging with me on social media; and making multiple purchases within a short period! I also noticed that lots of these buy local events had actual mini “shops”. These shops sold a variety of merchandise that were mass-produced and not handmade. The handmade “shops” that were there were charging commission and doing consignment with their designers. That seemed senseless to me. Why promote a product in your shop you did not believe in, and why would you put your product in a shop to only come home with 10% of the sale price? This, in itself, made little business sense. Luckily, through my social media experimentations, I made connections with some other cool handmade designers who I approached for collaboration. The idea was for them to create designs exclusive to my shop, so I could expand our offerings, while still keeping the original aesthetic and handmade concept alive. I would not charge a commission I would buy their products wholesale. If I believed in them, I could sell them. At this point, my Etsy shop was doing terribly. To complicate matters further, I was limited on how much of my new products I could advertise, due to their regulations. Essentially, all the “marketing” dollars on Etsy would get me one sale a month if I was lucky. I knew it was time to act fast. I needed to keep up the momentum I had built and the buzz around the concept, so I had to change the platform.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 15 -

I SSUE 4


Having learned that most of the other vendors at the buy local markets were using Shopify and in response to potential clients’ preferences, I started investigating a website. Did it still fit within my financial plan? Can I make it as a viable business? With some quick number crunching on my financial plan, I figured out if I could keep up with the volume of sales (which was now higher than expected on Etsy originally) I could afford to make the switch. So, I did.

Photo Credit: OLIVIA VAN DYKE

I have now grown my business two-fold, and have an excellent new Shopify site to show for it. I have a full line of lifestyle product offerings, mostly handmade, lots in partnerships with other designers, and a successful, positive reputation in precisely the demographic I was looking for! I may have started on the wrong path for my success, but by finding my market, listening to them, and observing their buying patterns, I was able to pivot to where I am today. Not where I thought I was going, and it happened so quickly I did not know it was happening at all. It all just felt so natural and straightforward.

By: Kelly Goebel Company: Hygge Life Vancouver Contact: hyggelifevancouver@gmail.com Order at: livehyggelife.ca

Pro Makeup Girl

Annasha’s Makeup Magic

Email: ProMakeupGirl@gmail.com Phone: 416 509 0251 Web: www.promakeupgirl.com DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

Email: Info@annashasmakeupmagic.ca Phone: 416 476 5028 Web: www.annashasmakeupmagic.ca - 16 -

I SSUE 4


Rehoboth Electrical Services Inc

OUR TEAM IS READY TO SERVE YOU CONTACT US TODAY [289] 401-9742 Rehoboth Electrical Services INC. is an electrical contracting firm that values efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction. Our electricians can install anything from new security lighting for your outdoors to a whole home generator that will keep your appliances working during a power outage.

INFO@RESINC.CA

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 17 -

WWW.RESINC.CA

I SSUE 4

ESA/ECRA #: 7009658


WHAT IS BUSINESS INSURANCE & WHY DO I NEED IT Owning a business can be an exciting way to provide valuable goods and services to your community and create jobs. However, it is hard work and an investment of your time, your money and your passion. Therefore, it makes sense to protect those investments from risk.

Think about it, your livelihood and the livelihood of your employees could depend on it. When you think about the cost you pay for insurance, it starts to feel very small when compared to the stress of potentially having to start everything all over again. Consider business insurance as part of your operational costs, and it will appear much less of a burden. Successful businesses use a variety of tools to manage their risks. Business insurance is really just an umbrella term that refers to the whole bundle of insurance products that apply to a business.

Commercial General Liability Commercial General Liability coverage protects against two common liability claims: n n bodily injury n n property damage Bodily injury to a third party is a common liability claim against business owners. It assumes that some type of negligence took place for the injury to happen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the negligence was the fault of the business owner.

These lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming and could find you financially responsible for costs associated with pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and legal fees.

It is essential to understand that insurance contracts are very specific about what they cover, so it makes sense to review your policy with an insurance professional to ensure your risks are covered. Some of the most common types of business insurance include, but are not limited to: n n Commercial general liability insurance n n Product liability insurance n n Professional liability insurance n n Key person insurance (previously known as keyman insurance)

Sometimes, someone may be responsible for their injury on your property, and they could still file a liability lawsuit against you. These lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming and could find you

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 18 -

I SSUE 4


Professional Liability Insurance Professional Liability Insurance is also commonly known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, or when referring to medical professionals, it is known as Malpractice Insurance. This coverage helps safeguard a service’s business when clients claim they have suffered a financial loss due to the service provided by your company. For example, as an interior designer, you have been hired by a dentist to design their new office. Unfortunately, you failed to meet the contracted deadline, which results in a delayed opening. You might face a lawsuit for the income lost due to the delay. Professional liability insurance could help protect you with the costs associated with the lawsuit.

financially responsible for costs associated with pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and legal fees. The property damage portion pays for damage to a customer’s property while on your business premises. If a cart pusher dings a customer’s car, for instance, your liability insurance pays for the repairs. If you operate a landscaping business and the work you do leads to structural damage of a homeowner’s property, your general policy covers your damage obligations if a lawsuit is filed. Product Liability Insurance Product Liability Insurance is particularly important for businesses that provide a product rather than a service. Product liability refers to situations where an issue arises with a product, and the source of the problem can be traced back to the business that sold the product. If your business is found responsible for an issue with one of the products you sell, you could find yourself with an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit. Your product liability insurance can help protect you from legal and medical costs that may come up in these instances.

Key Person Insurance Key Person Insurance protects against business risk in the event of the unfortunate death of a valued member of your business; usually taken out by companies for a person running the day to day operations. Imagine if the person who opens your store every morning was no longer there, or if the senior lawyer of your firm passed away. This coverage compensates the business for financial losses that would arise from the death or extended incapacity of an essential member of the business. People always ask “how much am I going to have to pay for business insurance? ”That is a great question, and there are several factors, most of which will be unique to the particular requirements of your business, that the insurance companies will consider before giving a quote. You can either contact an insurance company directly or speak with an insurance broker who can shop the market on your behalf.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

by: S EAN CLOUDEN Cloud Wealth Management info@cloudwealthmanagement.ca www.cloudwealthmanagement.ca

- 19 -

I SSUE 4


Miriam Baker

against the odds! Opportunities. ChalLenges. Success.

Miriam: I am the founder as well as the designer, manufacturer, retailer, wholesaler, and the shipping department. What was your first life experience that got you thinking about becoming an entrepreneur? Miriam: It goes back to when I was a teenager, but I never connected the dots until much later in life. When I was 16, I stopped fitting into the bras that were sold in the mall. It was very emotional for me. My mind went to negative thoughts of selfdoubt and loathing; I was asking myself if there was something wrong with me. My mom took me to a specialist to get a bra that would properly fit. But it did not solve the problem. As I got older, finding clothing that properly fit became an issue, so I decided I wanted to go into fashion. I went to George Brown for two years and took the Fashion Techniques and Design program. After I graduated from that course, I went to Ryerson, and I got my Bachelor of Design, specializing in Fashion. My final project in Ryerson was clothes for busty women. I was sick and tired of never being able to buy anything for myself that fit and I decided that was a problem that I wanted to solve. I graduated in 2013. I was working a full-time retail job when I found out about a competition for the most promising new label through the Toronto Fashion Incubator. I applied, and as a chosen applicant, it culminated in a fashion show. The Toronto Fashion Incubator is a non-profit organization that supports Canadian fashion designers. In 2014, I won the Suzanne Rogers Award for Most Promising New Label valued at $25,000, and with the proceeds, I started my company.

somebody else as opposed to working for yourself? Miriam: No. I came up with the idea, and I was excited about it. I thought it was such a good idea, which could be initiated by someone else if I did not move on it. Also, if I worked for somebody else, I did not believe that I would be heard. I knew that there was a market for my fashion line. Some people commented that I was limiting myself with

A lot of people start but, unfortunately, do not realize how hard this venture will be; you really need to have a passion for it.

such a small market of clients and that I should design for the masses. It ticked me off because that is what a lot of designers are doing, and why the need for my line is great. I was very stubborn about doing it my way. Talk a little bit more about how your idea was tested. You mentioned the competition, but what else did you do? Miriam: I had a final project in school that required research. I had to research the market and produce a report. In 2012 when I started the research, it was challenging to find peer-reviewed sources that proved what I was saying, but I

Did you ever think of working for or with DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 20 -

I SSUE 4


Photo Credit: KRISTINA UFFE DRE A M E R 2 C RE A T OR B U S I N E S S M A GA ZI N E

- 21 -

ISSUE 4


Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES - LONDON FASHION WEEK

intuitively knew that this was a market. It was difficult for me to find the sources that I needed, but I had personal experiences with people who had breast reductions because their clothes did not fit. The kind of information that was available was information on plastic surgery and the rates of women getting breast augmentation and stuff like that. What I needed to know was how many women had large breasts, sized D, Double D, E, F, and G, and where they were buying their clothes. There was no information from peer-reviewed sources on that. For those people without formal training but dreaming of a career in fashion design, what advice would you share with them? Miriam: A lot of people start but, unfortunately, do not realize how hard this venture will be; you really need to have a passion for it. You must have a reason to keep going when you are not paying yourself, and you are broke. For example, I have a friend who was a lawyer, and she got laid off. She was also a busty woman, and could never find clothes that fit. She decided to start a line of blouses

for busty women. Seven years later, she decided to stop pursuing it. I do not think that she realized how hard it was going to be for somebody with her lack of training in the field. She created a blog that took off more than her shirt did. She found something she was good at while doing something that was not her thing. If you have millions of dollars, I think that you can do it without having a design background by paying all the best people. But if you do not have millions of dollars, you need the required training. Also, it is essential to diversify yourself within the market. If you are not solving a problem, you might not have a business. You should be solving a problem. Some persons struggle with idea generation; how do you stay relevant? How do you keep ahead of trends? Miriam: Well, it is a part of the design process. I am always researching to stay current. I frequently search trend forecasting websites; for example, WGSN is a trend forecasting company which everybody frequents. Even as a designer at Abercrombie and Fitch, you would be referring

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 22 -

I SSUE 4


service. It was free coaching that helped you get started. I participated in programs like that. I did not go to school for business, but I have always loved to learn, so if I found a relevant program that was free and was available to me, I was guaranteed to go. Each city hall usually has information on initiatives for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Photo Credit: LAWRENCE CORTEZ

that is accessible. I did not know that at the very beginning, but once I did tap in, my participation was rewarded when I won a prize from the not-forprofit company named Toronto Fashion Incubator. I continue to rent studio space from there, and the City of Toronto subsidizes it. Another thing I did is called Futurpreneur, which is operated Canada wide. Futurpreneur is a program that sets you up with a mentor. Through Futurpreneur, you have access to $30,000 loans through their partnership with BDC and then an additional $15,000 loan through Futurpreneur on their own. That is a total

What training is needed to be successful at the business side of the business, such as the budgeting, sales, operations, and marketing? Miriam: I have been learning the business side as I go. One thing that I did was a program called Startup Company that is offered through the City of Toronto. That program lasted a few months, and by the end of it, you created a business plan. By creating a business plan, you are given a grant of $5,000. Another program that can be utilized is called a Passion for Fashion. It was a free program that was offered through the youth employment

Photo Credit: LAWRENCE CORTEZ

to WGSN because they give you information on colours that are going to be in three years down the road. There are several design resources like that.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 23 -

I SSUE 4


Photo Credit: LAWRENCE CORTEZ

large enough numbers. When someone places an order, I cut, sew and sell. I cannot afford to carry an inventory because I do not have the investment right now. Similarly, if I wanted to contract out clothing and not sew it in the studio, I would need more significant numbers. I would have to be cutting 100 of a particular style for a factory in the city to be able to take on the order. I do not have those numbers yet, so I cannot contract out. Something I have been able to outsource is my communications lead. She is doing the social media portion of the business; she organizes bimonthly emails and bi-monthly blog posts. With the increased content and posts, I have noticed the traffic to the site has increased. A year ago, I started with somebody who does search engine optimization (SEO). So now the site is optimized, and in a short time, I have noticed the SEO kicking off. Those are two areas where I did bring people in, but they are working for under market rate. I have a machinist in the studio, and I have a parttimer who sometimes helps with the cutting and the shipping. I do not have much of a life, right now. I am single, with no kids, so I invest a lot of time into the business. I do not anticipate that it will be like this forever, but it works for right now.

of $45,000 that is available to you. If you go to the Futurpreneur website, there are conditions that you must meet, such as being a certain age. Still, as far as acceptable loans go, it is probably the most acceptable one currently available. I have also found that they are quite supportive. They have introduced me to members of their network. Through them, I met the founder of Sheo, run by Vickie Saunders. There is also FWE, which stands for the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. They are Vancouver based, but they had a cohort in Toronto one fall. I participated in that as well, and they were quite helpful, I was set up with my current mentor, Claudia Harvey. Once again, it did not cost me anything. Have you started outsourcing any of the tasks of the business? Do you have any employees? Miriam: With fashion, you cannot outsource the fashion components of the business until you have

How did you get your first clients? Miriam: My first sale was due to the New Labels competition. Philanthropist Sylvia Mantella saw pieces she liked on the runway and arranged a visit to the Toronto Fashion Incubator to view my collection. I took a picture of that check. The sales that followed were in relation to the fashion show, as well and a FLARE Magazine feature. How did you continue to push through to get additional sales? Miriam: A little less than a year after being in business, I got my first retailer, Tucci Armadio. Lucia, the storeowner, buys quite a bit for her boutique. She has carried the collection every season since 2015. She has been a huge cheerleader, and when things are terrible, she was a motivating reason to keep going.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 24 -

I SSUE 4


What is your method of costing your product? Miriam: I use the traditional method in the fashion industry. It is essential to be careful with your cost because when done correctly, along with growing sales, you should be good. I have a lot of luxury retail experience, so I base it on that. I can start tinkering with prices if I think it is not correctly reflecting the needs of the market, but for the most part, I follow the traditional retail formula.

I have had moments where I was dragging myself out of my bed and throughout the whole day; I felt depressed.

Name two challenges that you experienced and how you overcame them? Miriam: The biggest challenge was pretty heavy. About a year ago, my employee passed away. That was probably the most challenging thing I ever had to deal with as a business owner. In addition to being an amazing person, I relied heavily on her. I did not know how to deal with the loss, and it took me a long time to come to terms with it. In terms of the business side of things, funding is an enormous challenge. It has been harder than I feel it should have been to access cash, and I think that it was partially so because I was a woman; I was not treated with respect. If I was a nice-looking white guy, I think it would have been a lot easier to get a loan from one of the major banks. Sometimes you have to be stubborn, and not listen to people when they say no. Believe in what you have, and keep going. Entrepreneurship is heavy on time and mental capacity. Were you ever tempted

to give up? If yes, what made you continue? Miriam: Yes. It was a challenging time after the passing of my staff. Plus, financially, things were extremely dire. I have had moments where I was dragging myself out of my bed and throughout the whole day; I felt depressed. However, I also knew that I had a good product and a great idea, and I knew that I was onto something. I could not allow myself to throw in the towel. I felt like I needed to build momentum, and I was. So even though things were financially garbage at that moment, I kept pushing. As well, I have a mentor, Claudia Harvey, that I meet with monthly. She has been very good to me by helping me maintain my drive during seasons of frustration. In addition to coaching me, she has been an advocate for my business by sending me clients and strong networking contacts. A strong support system is vital for entrepreneurs. Our magazine is about entrepreneurship and is not industry-specific. Do you look at other industries for inspiration or ways to differentiate your services? Miriam: Yes, I believe that in this day and age, fashion cannot exist without tech, so I follow


people in the tech sector quite closely. You need to be selling online, and if you are going to be selling online, you need to be aware of how technology can help you help your clients and showcase your merchandise in the best way possible. I think to exist in a fashion bubble solely is stupidity and short-sighted. What are three tips/ideas entrepreneurs can use to simplify their daily tasks or projects? Miriam: I am not great at that. I just tackle it. I am not the best with time management and prioritizing. Every day I jump right into it, and it usually starts with emails. And the day goes by, and I do not even know where it went. You close on Mondays. Is there a particular reason for this? Miriam: When people come to see me, they often have weekends off, and I want to be available for the weekend. So I am always working Saturday and Sunday. I try to be available, so if necessary, I will still be in on a Monday to see clients. Generally, except for the popup shops, services are by appointment only. Photo Credit: LAWRENCE CORTEZ

Photo Credit: GEORGE PIMENTAL

You are very inspirational and informative, and I am sure everyone is going to feel the same way. I find that a lot of creatives struggle more with the business side, but you are doing well so thank you for sharing with us.

Order at: https://miriam-baker.com

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 27 -

I SSUE 4


PEOPLE BUY EXCITEMENT. IF YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT, OTHERS WILL WANT TO SHARE IN THIS EXCITEMENT.

from Dreamer to creator: reframing deterrents in our paths


From Dreaming to Brainstorming to Creating Have you ever dreamt of starting your own business and thought, now what? Even while planning, you should keep dreaming! I dreamt of owning a business for a long time, and dreaming has proven to be a beneficial tool for me.

D

Photo Credit: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO

reaming allows planning without boundaries or financial risk. How do you leap from dreaming to action? It depends on how you are dreaming. Do you dream about owning a coffee shop and stop there, or do you envision yourself behind the counter? Many people dream without placing themselves in their dreams. You are the dream, so put yourself in it! Plan and think about your dreams carefully, envision success. In my case, I own a home-based home dÊcor business that allows me to dream and think about my next steps continually. I am my own timeline. I cannot say I dreamt of opening this particular business, but routinely had discussions with my husband about what business we could start. We still do. Last week our business idea (up for discussion) was opening a local bread shop. We brainstormed together about all the pros and cons, what could make it successful, and if we thought there was any potential. Since bread isn’t my passion, that dream ended there. Dreaming is a lot like brainstorming; dreams are your original ideas that come up without much thought, and they transition into thinking clearly about your idea. Often, dreaming and discussing

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 30 -

I SSUE 4


and thinking, this November, I am opening my own holiday pop-up shop and dreaming made this possible. Without dreaming and envisioning myself being a success, I would never have made a move to open a storefront. In my dreaming, I did not care about all the nitty-gritty details of money, time, effort but just the passion, my abilities and the potential. When I started thinking seriously about it, I put my passion aside. I was realistic with my own expectations and rather than committing to something long term, I opted for a pop-up shop to test out my dream. Photo Credit: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO

Never stop dreaming.

In my business, it is mostly home-based, and I still have a regular full-time job. Recently, I dreamt of opening a storefront. I immediately stopped myself; I bombarded myself with questions: Who would run the store? Can I afford it? Is this a good location? I shut my dream down quickly. The barrage of questions terrified me. After a few hours, I found myself continuing to think and dream about it again. I envisioned myself in the store, selling my unique products that have been successful for me. I then started thinking deeper. I identified my local market, the local retail demographic and my financial abilities. I kept returning to one question, “How can I make this happen?� before slowly answering it. After much more dreaming

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

Photo Credit: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO

with a trusted person can open your mind to ideas and allow you to gain perspective. To me, this is the most critical and vital step in taking your dream to reality. Your dreams often include your aspirations and passions, but you must also think about realities. Being passionate and dreaming does not always mean your business is a viable one. Talk about your dreams, tell your trusted people about your dream, get feedback and dream some more. Another critical factor in taking your dreams to reality is the ability to problem-solve or be that person to make it happen. That idea did not work in your head? Find another way; try something different. I never give up after the first try; if I want something bad enough, I will find a way or adjust what I am doing if it is not working.

by: CHRISTA BURKE Order designs at www.christabydesign.com

- 31 -

I SSUE 4


my first year in business I started my business, Aster & Vine, a little over a year ago. I certainly do not feel as though I am any sort of expert in running a business, but I can tell you that the first year is intense. I thought I would write about some fundamental principles, I have learned along the way, that may help someone just starting as an entrepreneur. Create a support network: It can feel very isolating starting your own business. Suddenly you have this thing that takes over all your thoughts and all your time; your friends and family who have not been in this position before will have a hard time understanding. As you will be living and breathing your business, it is essential to talk with those close to you to explain what is going on. It is also beneficial to network with other business owners because they understand where you are coming from and will speak your new “entrepreneur� language.

Get help: Find people in your community, other business owners and entrepreneurs who are willing to talk with you about their experiences and share what they have learned. When I was starting, I did not know what I was in for. There are just so many aspects to running a small business that without help and guidance, I would have been lost. Secondly, look for social programs within your city that are there to help new entrepreneurs. A successful new business is good news for the government; you may be surprised at what is on offer!

Write a business plan: Before starting my business, I thought a business plan needed to be just a few pages, but by the time I was done, my business plan was well over 40 pages plus appendices. With a good business plan, you will cover so many variables, including market research, your competition, projected budget, pricing and more. This information will become invaluable once you are in the thick of things. Trust me, you will not want to be figuring things out alongside running your business fulltime. Be flexible: This one is huge! While I consider writing a business plan to be of utmost importance, being willing to change that business plan is a necessity. You cannot project everything that is going to happen and you need to be able to observe what is happening and adapt accordingly. Keep an eye on your competition, but do not stress about them: You will have competition, and it will get under your skin. I think that is

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 32 -

I SSUE 4


human nature. However, if you’ve planned your business thoroughly and have a support-group of knowledgeable people around you, the competition will only make you smarter. Starting my business, I had a growth plan in place. So, it was extremely disconcerting to watch my competitors grow at 10-fold the pace of my business’ projected growth which tempted me to slash prices to outsell them. Had I done that, I would have burnt myself out, my business plan would have meant nothing anymore, and my business would no longer be what I wanted it to be. Instead, I kept a close eye on my competitors but stayed on course with what I want for MY business. You never know what is going on behind the scenes for someone else, but you know what is right for you. Follow your gut. Delegate: I am a sole proprietor, I have no employees, but I still delegate. When I first started Aster & Vine, I planned to do every single job myself, mostly to be cost-effective. Well, it turned out that I was terrible at bookkeeping and accounting; within the first three months of business, I hired a bookkeeper. It saved me so much time, reduced a high amount of stress, and allowed me to focus more on growing my business. Some extra costs are worth it, do not run yourself into the ground if you can get the help you need.

Do not lose sight of the big picture: Generally, my days are filled with sending out orders, answering customer questions, planning workshops, and reaching out to my manufacturers. I started this business because I enjoy crafting and fibre arts. My days are not filled with making and satisfying my need to create. The nitty-gritty of my job is just like any other job and some days it gets to me. My goal is to help other crafters find the materials they are looking for while at the same time creating the pieces I want to make for myself, family and friends. I have gone months without creating anything, and this gets me feeling down. To combat this, I now carve out time to make what I want, for me. You are the most important person in your business; you need to take care of yourself and do whatever it is that reminds you of the passion that turned you into an entrepreneur. I know that surviving my first year in business does not guarantee success. I have started year two working just as hard as before. However, I now feel more prepared to take things at my own pace; and I feel more confident about decisions I have made, as well as, making decisions for the future. While this experience has introduced me to stress levels I have never experienced before, it has also been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. Now that I am in this, I cannot imagine doing anything else. Aster & Vine sources ethically produced cotton fibres for macramĂŠ, crochet, and weaving. Based out of the small mountain town of Rossland, BC, owner/artisan Erica Tjeerdsma teaches various fibre arts workshops; has an online retail store; and is stocked in a variety of shops in western Canada. By: Erica Tjeerdsma Order at: https://asterandvine.com/

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 33 -

I SSUE 4


YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION AVAILABLE AT WWW.DREAMER2CREATORMAG.CA


YOUR CREATED DREAM CHANGE THE WORLD, ONE PERSON AT A TIME.

from Dreamer to creator: reframing deterrents in our paths

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 35 -

I SSUE 4


Steps in Designing your product M

A

s a caregiver to the elderly, I knew nothing about business and found it very intimidating stepping into that world. At the time, I was at a low point in my life. I had left a long-term relationship and lost everything dear to me, except my border collie Abby. I was incredibly unhappy with where I was in life. I was alone at 30 years old, renting a room and had no vehicle. Little did I realize this minimalistic lifestyle is what would afford my entrepreneurial journey. Instead of viewing myself as a “failure” I learned to utilize this gift, which was the key to my success. My office desk may have been a label printer box, but every story has a beginning.

y journey started when I would frequently find black-legged deer ticks in Abby’s fur during our local hikes. When I discovered that black-legged deer ticks are the largest carrier of Lyme Disease, this left me concerned for her safety. I feared the use of chemicals after seeing adverse side effects on other dogs. Some of these side effects include severe burns to fur/ skin, seizures from vet prescribed tick and flea medications, and even death. I tried many natural products that did not prove to be effective. Eventually, I formulated something natural that finally had us coming home tickfree. I would clip it to her leash and never leave the house without it. The elixir started as personal use on my dog but soon gained attention on our walks and at local dog parks. People would approach me with questions and wanted to buy our bottles. I then realized the actual selling potential. “Abby’s Elixir” was born. The label was designed using Abby’s beautiful face. She was my inspiration, after all!

I

knew I had to start thinking bigger. My label design had to change to be less personalized and gender-neutral so that the product would appeal to all potential clients. I found that creating the packaging was one of the easier tasks for me because, as a consumer, I knew what attracted me to buy a product. Colour option played a considerable role in my purchasing decisions. I applied this simple concept to my own work. Proper chemistry needed to be applied to the formula for the product to be dispensed evenly and have a longer shelf

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 36 -

I SSUE 4


life. I needed to keep my key ingredients in a safe dosage for all dog sizes. It took months of research, as well as analysis of peer review studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of each ingredient. I had many questions for dozens of professionals including entomologists, veterinarians and clinical and animal aromatherapists; questions which were not always welcomed with kindness. It was also important to me that the product was made as environmentally friendly and practical for outdoor use as possible.

O

ne of the biggest challenges I faced in the early stages of starting a business was sourcing. I quickly learned that I would need to keep my costs low to make a profit. In fact, 30% cost and 70% or higher profit, is essential, to succeed in business. This compelled me to source overseas. I did not believe I had the right skillset or knowledge to negotiate with Chinese suppliers and manufacturers, so I made the mistake of hiring a sourcing company “Sourcify� to connect me with factories in China. I believed by hiring Sourcify I would bypass scammers and find the best pricing on items. I was quoted outrageous costs, and many

of my emails were ignored entirely. My frustrations led me to do my own sourcing online, where I spent time learning accurate terminology and the best ways to communicate. It was very challenging for someone with my level of inexperience to make a deal. It soon became apparent I had to implement a strategy to overcome the deterrents I was up against. With the language barrier, I learned to skip details. With inexperience, I learned to play the role of a confident entrepreneur with a thriving business. Bearing in mind, cultural differences make being a female someone who is not always taken seriously; I also found a fantastic supplier at a price that was less than half the quote acquired via the sourcing company.

E

ntrepreneurship is a learning process the entire way through. I found that the real foundation for success is having the courage to ask questions, the will to work through obstacles and having a real hunger for a better quality of life. I used to think in order to be in business you had to be an intellectual, be highly educated or have a lot of money behind you. I am happy to say that none of these things are required. Do not wait for an opportunity, create it. By: CHRISTY WARKENTIN Order at: https://www.abbyselixir.com/

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 37 -

I SSUE 4


customer service & loyalty retention Without customers, there is no business. I might be stating the obvious, but some businesses tend to lose sight of that fact. I found the key to not only growing the company but to keep it running, is to have a steady flow of customers. I will share some insight, from my experience, on how I retain previous customers, as well as draw in new ones.

Hello, my name is Sweki Chen, and I am the founder and sole proprietor of Minus Cake Boutique. I specialize in cake designs that utilize French and Asian techniques and flavours, with a focus on customized appearances according to client requests. Building a business from the ground up is a gruelling ordeal that I would not want to put on anyone, and yet, believe that everyone should go through to build your resolve and fuel your passion when starting up. There are many factors to consider and lessons to learn on the way, but being in the food business, the most important aspect to always keep at the forefront is the customer.

Due to the nature of a cake business, customers are almost always celebrating one event or another, all of which are significant to themselves. As such, it is quite rare for any to be satisfied with a generic cake. Mind you, I like to believe that my products both look and taste great on their own! But still, a personal take on each order is what sets me apart from your neighbourhood block cake shop. Prospective clients are always encouraged to provide pictures of what they have in mind, and I will, to the best my ability, endeavour not to refuse their idea, unless of course, it is impossible. Not only does this give clients the sense that they are being accommodated, but it also provides an excuse to expand my portfolio. Do beware of your limitations before committing to anyone or anything. But do also take each opportunity to rise to a challenge. One struggle I have discovered while starting up the business that all entrepreneurs will have to face and manage on their own, is finding a good balance of pushing the limit while innovating. Know yourself. Problems always arise. It is what you do to resolve it that makes or breaks the relationship with customers. It could be any number of things — issues during delivery, weather or traffic problems; the customer initially listing the wrong date and

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 38 -

I SSUE 4


fault came from myself. Blaming the customer never works out for either party. Instead, I look to improving myself by either identifying where things went wrong or by having the foresight to predict potential eventualities and avoid them. This too will also give customers a better appreciation and encourage their return.

now wants it earlier; product dissatisfaction. I have found that the most important thing a client wants during these situations is excellent communication. What makes my small business stand out is that I am both the customer liaison as well as the producer, so things are much harder to get lost in translation between departments. I can offer on the spot solutions to placate any irate customer, including sometimes going to their venue to fix the cake! Knowing that the owner is willing to go to such lengths to resolve problems has not yet failed to put a smile on clients’ faces. This keeps them coming back because they know that the products are excellent, the design is what they requested, and issues get resolved personally.

As a business that started only with social media advertising, this focus on treating customers fairly and being gracious to new prospects is what has kept my business thriving. Now with a storefront in the works, these lessons will only get amplified with the inevitable public exposure. The customer may not always be right, but they sure are a vital aspect to building your business!

No one likes last minute orders, but it happens. Pushing yourself to be able to accommodate rushed orders makes clients feel grateful that someone can do it. Of course, if you are fully booked, you are fully booked. However, knowing when you can squeeze in just one more is yet another balance you will have to find for yourself. Another big lesson I have learned is knowing when to admit that the

The customer may not always be right, but they sure are a vital aspect to building your business!

Photo Credit: TING PHOTOGRAPHY

By: SWEKI CHEN Order at: https://www.minuscake.com/ DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 39 -

I SSUE 4


Getting

noticed on social media I

know it is on everyone’s mind, and as business owners, we are always looking to interact and communicate with our “ideal clients,” and really wanting to get noticed. Let us talk about just that. Getting noticed on social media. With all the opportunities that we are exposed to, how do we utilize it all? How do we expose our company? How do we reach our dream clients? Let us dig into some ideas that have not only worked for me within my business but for many other companies.

F

or starters, don’t be shy. It is easier said than done, but it really will make a difference. Showing your face to your clients, customers and followers will grow a connection amongst your social media family. It gives them a face to put a name to and allows them to get to know you. For example, let them know you have two or three kids and running a business too. Show them a moment in the product design life; or how you package your orders; or what a day-in-the-life of your business looks like. People connect and feel closer and more intrigued by you when you can open up to them. Get full use out of the Instagram Stories or Facebook slideshows. Showing up is the best way to prove to your viewers that you want this as much as they do!

Photo Credit: KATIE NICOLLE PHOTOGRAPHY

N

ow that you are getting out of your shell Get active! And no - I don’t mean exercise or going out to the gym, I mean get posting at least once a day. Keeping your social media accounts up to date allows current and potential clients to see your work. Be proactive with letting customers know what you are working on; what is exciting within the business and for the future of your business. Build customer confidence in what they can expect from your dream business and make sure you follow through. If you are planning a giveaway, make sure you stick to your rules and deadlines. Or if you are having an exclusive sale, make sure you have enough potential product to cover the wishes of your customers.

S

ome studies show that different times throughout the day are best for posting. For myself, I have found later in the evening works great. This way you can be seen by the mom who finally got her baby down for a nap, the shift

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 40 -

I SSUE 4


worker who is just about to crawl into bed or the husband who has finally got a chance to search for that perfect gift for his partner without them seeing. Determine what time of the day would be best for reaching the clients your business is targeting.

A

long with actively posting every day is writing a little blurb to accompany it. Maybe something regarding what is happening in your life, the media, your area or a world issue where you can make a difference. Allow yourself to connect to outside world ideas in addition to ideas racing around your mind with your business. It can be diďŹƒcult posting every day if you do not have a plan. Making a weekly checklist or schedule for your posts will help. Pre-planning the week will make your grids on Instagram flow, and your Facebook feels organized. Facebook has a section where you can schedule your posts and they will self-activate, even if your hands are four inches deep in moulding clay or that new recipe you have been egging to try, people will read. Catch their

Photo Credit: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO

Photo Credit: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO

attention, make polls, ask questions, make your titles stand out. The more you connect, the more the world will see your social media activity.

I

know you have moved on from school, and all that accompanies it, but researching for your business will always come in handy. It can be as in-depth or as simple as you would like. In terms of Instagram, so many people use hashtags to connect with their line of work. Whether it is using the city name, type of product, the branding you have created, your business name, or so many other options – your business needs you to connect. Allow your words to reach out to as many locations as you would like your business to be seen in. Post and share your business with local cafes, mom groups, or even the local paper (whether it be online or in print) - get yourself out there and make connections.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 41 -

I SSUE 4


R

each out and connect to other business owners who are hoping to reach out to new clients as well, and want to collaborate. Is there something that you can do together for an amazing “giveaway” or “limited edition” product. Connecting with other vendors within the industry that you are targeting can be beneficial to expanding the outreach. For example, a wedding decorator would benefit from connecting with a wedding coordinator and vice versa. Tagging each other, sharing each other’s stories and getting a chance to work together in some form will help expose both businesses within their clientele and followers. Building a strong rapport with vendors will, in turn, show for a pleasant rapport with clients. Social media is fantastic for being able to share and repost what is trending, and you want to make sure your accounts are amongst those favourite ones!! Having many vendors to work with will also build business owner bonds and can bounce ideas and concepts of each other. Who does not love creating something new and having a vision come to life with other fabulous business owners?

try new things. Share your face, the face of your business! Do that live video that you have rerecorded at least five times because you feel like it is just not right. Click share! Post it! Get yourself out there and get so excited about the connections that are going to happen. Remember you are not alone in this adventure and having the social media family behind you is one of the best feelings within a business! You’ve got this! By: JESSICA DERVISEVIC OF JLP STUDIO Order at: https://www.jlpstudio.ca/

A

lthough marketing can become costly, some choices are worth the investment as you grow your business. Branding your business shows your potential clients what your business is all about. Connecting with a photographer to capture images for your business will help expose you within the social media avenues. It is what will bring those major concepts to life. Not only will this project present a professional view to all your current and future clients, but it will also allow your social media accounts to flourish and match the perception that you want your business to have. It may be the beginning of your business, a year into your adventure or even five years in, don’t be afraid to learn and

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 42 -

I SSUE 4


DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 43 -

I SSUE 4


BUSINESS: THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE


resources Business Bank Accounts Having a bank account dedicated to your business is crucial. By NOT combining personal and business finances, you can track where you are in terms of goals and measure your profit and losses. Also, when it comes time for taxes, separate is better. Here are a few bank account options that do not require a minimum balance. BMO eBusiness Plan $0 monthly fee Unlimited electronic transactions 2 Interac e-Transfer ® transactions Unlimited Moneris ® transactions Business Start $6 monthly fee

National Bank $5.99 /month 20 electronic transactions* + 2 sending Interac e-Transfers ® RBC Option 1: Monthly Fee: $5.00 Package Includes: Unlimited electronic debits and credits 10 outgoing Interac e-Transfer transactions Unlimited electronic cheque deposits Unlimited items deposited Option 2: Monthly Fee: $6.00 Package Includes: Unlimited Moneris: deposits Unlimited items deposited TD Option 1: $5.00 monthly plan fee 5 deposit items 5 transaction Option 2: $19 monthly fee 50 deposit items 20 transactions

7 Transactions per month 2 Interac e-Transfer ® transactions Unlimited Moneris ® transactions Business Builder 1 $22.50 monthly fee 35 Transactions per month 2 Interac e-Transfer ® transactions Unlimited Moneris ® Transactions CIBC A value account that lets you pay only for what you use. Monthly fee: $6.00 Transactions: $1.00 for each self-service transaction $1.25 for each full-service transaction Deposits per month: Pay per use

**There are some additional criteria so ensure you ask lots of questions before deciding. Have an idea as to the number and type of transactions you perform monthly to choose the best banking option. As you grow, your banking needs will change.

DRE A ME R 2 C R EA T O R B USI N ESS M A G A Z I N E

- 45 -

I SSUE 4


MY BIGGEST MOTIVATION? JUST TO KEEP CHALLENGING MYSELF. I SEE LIFE ALMOST LIKE ONE LONG UNIVERSITY EDUCATION THAT I NEVER HAD -- EVERY DAY I’M LEARNING SOMETHING NEW. Richard Branson, entrepreenur


BOOK AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT AMAZON.CA & CHAPTERS.CA

Profile for Dreamer 2 Creator Magazine

Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine Issue 4  

Advertisement